Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boil 2.14

[Voltaire] was also, luckily, very rich, in no small part because of his participation in a bizarre swindle devised by a mathematician friend, who, back in 1728, realized that the French government had authorized a lottery in which the prize was much greater than the collective cost of the tickets. He and Voltaire formed a syndicate, collected all the money, and became moneylenders to the great houses of Europe.
Adam Gopnik, "Voltaire's Garden", The New Yorker, March 7, 2005, p.74